Soup Kitchen Economics

Three students pursuing master’s degrees in economics at the University of North Texas College of Business in Denton have partnered with the local charity Our Daily Bread to design a statistical model to forecast how many meals the soup kitchen should prepare each day.
Soup Kitchen Economics

The students will analyze 14 years of historical data provided by the organization, as well as factors such as weather conditions, unemployment rates, and population growth.

Associate professors of economics Michael McPherson and Margie Tieslau received a community engagement grant from UNT for the yearlong project, which began last spring. With such a predictive model, the soup kitchen will be able to use its donated funds more wisely, serving everyone who needs meals without wasting food, says McPherson.

Once the soup kitchen project is completed, Tieslau plans to use it as an example each spring in her forecasting class. Future students might not only improve the initial statistical model, she says, but also be inspired to volunteer their time and talents to other community organizations.